July 25th, 2012 at 11:56am
Ford, Daimler and Peugeot all reported their financial numbers for the first half and the results are mixed. Traffic deaths in the U.S. are up 13.5 percent in the first quarter of this year. Kia is coming out with an all-new version of its compact minivan, the Carens at the Paris Auto Show. All that and more, plus John responds to your questions and comments in “You Said It!”
Welcome to Autoline Daily, with the latest automotive news.
FIRST HALF FINANCIALS
This is the time of year when automakers report their earnings and three companies put out their numbers today: Ford, Daimler and Peugeot. As you might expect, they’re all headed downward. Amazingly, PSA is still profitable, but it posted an operating profit of €5 million on sales of nearly €30 billion. But the automotive operations at PSA lost €662 million and analysts expect the losses to get worse as the year goes on. Meanwhile, Daimler is far more profitable, reporting an EBIT profit of €2.2 billion, but that was down from nearly €2.6 billion a year ago. This, despite the fact that Daimler sold more vehicles and brought in more revenue in the first half of the year. And Ford reported sharply lower profits for the first half. Not unexpectedly, Ford reported a significant pre-tax loss of more than $400 million in Europe. Profits plummeted in South America and it lost money in Asia. However, Ford’s North American operations continued to post solid pre-tax profits of more than $2 billion, despite the fact that sales and revenue fell.
TRAFFIC DEATHS UP IN U.S.
Traffic deaths in the U.S. have been declining since 200,8 but in the first quarter of this year they went up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that around 7,600 people died in the first three months of the year, compared to 6,700 in the same time frame last year, up 13.5 percent. NHTSA attributes the increase to more people driving. Funny, when traffic deaths were going down NHTSA took all the credit. Here’s my Autoline Insight. Traffic deaths always go down during a recession, when fewer people are driving, and tend to go up when the economy improves.
KIA CARENS TO DEBUT IN PARIS
Kia is coming out with an all-new version of its compact minivan, the Carens, at the Paris Auto Show. The vehicle is sold as the Carens in South Korea and a few other markets and is known as the Rondo in most other markets. No other details are available but as you can see from the pictures, the new Carens will be much sleeker than the current model.
CHEVY SPONSORS LIVERPOOL FC
Here’s a bit of news for you to “kick around.” Chevrolet just signed a four-year agreement with the Liverpool Football Club. GM’s mass-market brand is now the sports team’s official automotive partner. First Chevy sponsors the Manchester United team and now this. What is going on here? When Joel Ewanick, GM’s global Chief Marketing Officer was on Autoline After Hours last week he threw out some astounding numbers. At this year’s Super Bowl the company got some 600 million advertising impressions. But when it made the Manchester United announcement THE PRESS RELEASE ALONE got a billion impressions! About 115 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. But Manchester had an audience of some 300 million when it played an exhibition game in China recently! So if you want to take the Chevy brand global that is the way to do it.
GM TO EXPAND IN MYANMAR
Speaking of going global, GM is going to expand in Myanmar of all places. Surprisingly, it’s not alone in its push into the Southeastern-Asian country. Of course there are still concerns about safety and U.S. trade sanctions. The company has no dealerships there and ZERO staff on the ground. But Myanmar is a country with about 60 million people, so it’s a market automakers can’t ignore.
Coming up next it’s time for You Said it
YOU SAID IT!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
C-Tech saw our report on Goodyear looking into making tires out of soy oil and wants to know, “Soy tires? Are they biodegradable? When you fry the soy-based tires, do they smell like Chinese food?”
I sure hope so!
HtG could not resist commenting on the story that the late Carroll Shelby’s wife and children are splitting up his ashes after a protracted court fight over his remains. “With Apologies in advance: So they’re parting out an original Shelby? RIP, Mr. Shelby.”
You people crack me up!
1doesntlikeapplepie was surprised to hear that Samsung Motors will build the next Nissan Rogue in Korea to export to the US. “Huh? When did Samsung start building cars?”
They’ve been building cars for decades and were bought by Renault in the year 2000. Don’t you remember when Roger Penske got the rights to the Saturn brand? He was going to have Samsung build cars and sell them as Saturns in the U.S. It came that close to happening until Carlos Ghosn pulled the rug out from under Roger at the very last minute.
Bradley has something of a conspiracy theory surrounding Ford’s latest recall. “Recalls are a form of advertising. I had no idea Ford was putting a 1.6 liter in the North America Escape. Now I know, and after going to the website, I see all the Escape engines are below 2.5 liters. Way to go Ford!”
And ART NJ sure likes that recall. “Customers will have their Escapes picked up and given a loaner. I applaud Ford for their quick and proper handling of the recall. I am not a Ford owner, but if this is how they value and appreciate their customers, I just might buy an Escape.”
Thanks for all your letters and comments. They make us think!
Before we go, don’t forget that that bodacious Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo and I are taking Autoline After Hours on the road tomorrow night. We’ll be in Bob Lutz’s garage which contains an interesting collection of cars and motorcycles, and of course, Mr. Lutz himself will be regaling us with his insights and analysis of what’s going on in the world of automobiles. That’s tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
And that wrap up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.